The Flames are relishing a good start when they face Rwandaâ€™s Amabvubi Â in their opening 2012 Cecafa Tusker Senior Challenge Cup Group C fixture at Namboole Stadium in Ugandaâ€™s capital Kampala this Monday.
Coach Kinnah Phiri said from Kampala on Sunday a good start would boost the teamâ€™s chances of qualifying for the quarter-finals.
â€œIf we are to progress to the quarter-finals, then we need to start on a bright note. We must win the opening game against Rwanda on Monday,â€ said Kinnah.
He also challenged rookie members of his squad that the tournament offers them a chance to prove their worth.
â€œI have told the new players to seize this opportunity and prove that they are ready to play for the national team.
â€œWe do not use foreign-based players for this competition and a few other players were left out on disciplinary grounds. So, the new players have a chance to impress starting with tomorrowâ€™s [Mondayâ€™s] game,â€ said Kinnah.
He also hinted that the six players that were expected to arrive in Kampala last night after featuring for their respective clubs in the Carlsberg Cup semi-final matches, would be available for selection.
The six are Blue Eagles quartet of Steven Chagoma, Innocent Bokosi, Micium Mhone and Patrick Masanjala and Escom United duo of Chiukepo Msowoya and Bernard Harawa.
â€œOf course, it will not be easy for them after jet lag and having featured in tough games on Saturday. We will have to see if they can cope,â€ said Kinnah.
However, the Flames mentor said he was happy with the level of commitment and enthusiasm displayed by the rest of the players.
â€œThe players are in high spirits and looking forward to the games.
â€œWe have been training at Makerere University at least twice a day and our focus has been finishing because it remains our weakest link,â€ said Kinnah.
The Flames coach also brushed-off suggestions that the Flames would easily qualify for the quarter-finals considering the composition of their group.
â€œThere is nothing like an easy opponent these days. Obviously people might say Zanzibar and Eritrea are weak teams, but we do not know much about them.
â€œThe most important thing is to take every game seriously,â€ said Kinnah.
Captain Moses Chavula and FAM executive member James Mwenda, who is the team leader, said the Flames are prepared for the tournament.
Said Chavula from the teamâ€™s Inter Tropics Hotel: â€œThe spirits are very high and we are looking forward to a good start.
â€œIf we start on a good note, then qualification to the quarter-finals will be within reach.â€
The Flames are ranked 101 on Fifa rankings while Rwanda are 122.
Meanwhile, Rwandaâ€™s Serbian coach Milutin Sredojovic also said he is confident of starting on a positive note.
Rwandaâ€™s key players include Emery Bayisenge, Djabir Mutarambirwa and Michel Rusheshangoga.
For the third year running, MultiChoice will cover all and the matches to be beamed on SuperSport 9.